Category Archives: Videos

Why you should really pay attention to Paul Daley vs. Lorenz Larkin at Bellator 183

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Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos

As longtime Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith tells it, there are certain fights that bring out your inner-fan.

If a welterweight contest between knockout artist and Paul Daley (39-15-2 MMA, 5-2 BMMA) and precision striker Lorenz Larkin (18-6 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) doesn’t do it, you might want to check out tennis.

The pair face off Saturday on the Spike-televised main card of Bellator 183, which takes place at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif. Headlining the event is a lightweight fight between onetime title challengers Benson Henderson and Patricky “Pitbull” Freire.

Larkin and Daley would be fireworks without a grudge, but they’ve added that to the mix, too. Daley was dismissive of Larkin’s abilities in interviews, leading Larkin to declare, “I’ve never not liked somebody like this guy.”

The budding rivals both hope to get back in the title picture after recent setbacks. Larkin, a high-profile UFC defector, fell short to champ Douglas Lima in his promotional debut, while Daley was submitted by Rory MacDonald, another big acquisition for the Viacom-owned promotion.

With Lima and MacDonald now scheduled to square off on Jan. 20, the winner of Saturday’s bout will be back in the running. But they’ll first look to settle a score. Watch the above video to get a full breakdown on the fight.

And for more on Bellator 183, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Before their rematch, watch the thrilling 1st fight between Angela Lee and Mei Yamaguchi

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Filed under: News, Videos

Before their highly anticipated rematch, watch the thrilling first fight between ONE Championship women’s atomweight titleholder Angela Lee and Mei Yamaguchi.

In 2016 at ONE Championship 42, Lee and Yamaguchi fought for the organization’s inaugural belt.

It resulted in a wild fight that earned MMAjunkie “Fight of the Month” honors for May 2016.

Check out the highlights of their first fight above.

And catch 21-year-old phenom Lee (8-0) and 34-year-old Japanese veteran Yamaguchi (16-10-1) back in action on Nov. 24, when they meet at “ONE Championship 65: Immortal Pursuit” at Singapore Indoor Stadium in the online pay-per-view event’s headliner.

And for more on ONE Championship 65, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Why the UFC? Why not kickboxing? UFC-Japan's Gokhan Saki says fans are 'going to be in shock'

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Why now?

That’s the most obvious question facing Gokhan Saki, who slugged it out for 15 years in the kickboxing ring against some of the world’s most decorated strikers. But now he make his UFC debut on Saturday at UFC Fight Night 117.

Saki, 33, built a reputation as a brick-tough competitor in K-1, and he once fought Overeem with a broken arm in the tournament final of the 2010 Grand Prix.

But it’s been two years since he’s stepped into the ring. The one time he stepped into an MMA cage, 13 years ago at an easily forgotten event in Liverpool, England, he was stopped in the first round.

Saki (0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) could return to kickboxing. So why give MMA another shot, much less in the biggest and toughest promotion in the world?

The easiest answer, of course, would be money. Kickboxing is no longer the powerhouse it was in the ’80s and ’90s. MMA is where the real money can be made. But to Saki, it’s a story about age and fulfillment.

“If you asked me 10 years ago why not MMA, it wasn’t the time,” Saki, who faces light heavyweight Henrique da Silva (12-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) on the FXX-televised main card of Friday’s event at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, told MMAjunkie. “I was still hungry to beat people up in kickboxing. That time, there were still big challenges in kickboxing, which I didn’t have for two years. I decided to stop kickboxing because I wasn’t hungry any more to train and to fight, because there was nobody like in the old times with K-1. So I stopped for two-and-a-half years.”

Stripped of the Glory light-heavyweight title for inactivity, Saki said he tried to reboot his life by focusing on other activities. But eventually, the tug to fight became to great to ignore.

“One year ago, there was an empty place in my heart; like, I fought for 20 years and I won the title, and I stopped,” he said. “(It was) in my prime. It was not the right time to stop, because I was 30 years old, and I won the title, but didn’t defend it, and also because of a couple of issues with the organization.

“I stopped for two years, and I felt an emptiness (in my heart), and I came back on a bigger stage, the biggest martial arts organization in the world, the UFC, with a lot of challenge for me. I am hungry again, and it’s time to open a new book and finish my career in the right way.”

How long will this chapter last? Saki can only speculate. A run at the title might satisfy his desire to compete at the highest level. Or it could teach him that his desire isn’t enough to match the demands of learning an entirely new set of skills. Most fighters at Saki’s age are thinking more about the end of their careers than the beginning.

But Saki has always been a fighter with a terrifying amount of heart. And to him, training in MMA has renewed his passion for beating people up.

“In my mind, it’s like I’m 11 or 12 years old again, learning things very fast again,” he said. “I’m ready to fight for four or five years more.”

As long as Saki’s journey has been, many fans who tune in Friday will get their first look at his style. If he can promise one thing about his new foray, it’s that nothing has changed about the way he fights.

“I am a striker, and they try to be a striker,” he said. “I’m 100 percent sure I’m going to bring new things to MMA. My style is kickboxing, but my style is special. Why? I can fight everybody. I can fight Thai style. I can fight with a lot of footwork. I can fight big guys.

“So for every fight, I have a different game plan. I train 20 different systems. Because of that, my style became special. Explosive. Hard. This is what people want to see. I’m sure, they’re not used to this. They’re going to be in shock.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 117, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Why did UFC-Pittsburgh winner Olivier Aubin-Mercier ask for Charles Oliveira? Well, 'why not?'

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

Olivier Aubin-Mercier has been doing well for himself inside the cage. But his call-out game might need a little work.

After snagging a third straight win with a split decision over Tony Martin  (12-4 MMA, 4-4 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 116, Aubin-Mercier (10-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) asked, rather politely, for a meeting with Brazilian grappling expert Charles Oliveira. Backstage, “The Quebec Kid” elaborated on the request and explored some other options.

But, as Aubin-Mercier himself will admit, that isn’t the area of the MMA game in which he’s most comfortable.

“I’m not sure who I want,” Mercier said after the lightweight scrap. “I said Charles Oliveira. I knew it was kind of a crazy callout, but why not? Unfortunately, I don’t really watch a lot of UFC. So I don’t know a lot of people in my category. I know who they are, but I don’t know the names.

“I know the last guy who beat (Lando) Vannata. I think he’s a Sweden guy; it would be a good fight (David Teymur). There’s another judo guy in my category. I think it’s Nick (Hein), or something like this – I’m not sure about his name.”

The matchup with Oliveira isn’t exactly out of the realm of possibility, as the Brazilian, who most recently beat Will Brooks, remains unbooked. But, despite repeated failures make the 145-limit in the past, Oliveira has expressed his desire to return to featherweight. Teymur and Hein, both coming off wins, are also unbooked.

As for his other octagon request, to fight at UFC on FOX 26 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Aubin-Mercier says he’s still got some things to discuss before committing. But, having just returned from a nine-month layoff that dates back to a UFC 206 win over Drew Dober, he would like to get booked before year’s end.

“I just fought once this year,” Aubin-Mercier said. “(I) had a little bit of rust in there, so I would like to fight one more time. I would like to make a little bit more money, since I have my taxes to pay.”

Aubin-Mercier applies the same honesty to discussing Saturday’s encounter, which aired live on FS1 from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. Fact is, though the win was most certainly welcome, he would have preferred a clearer result.

“I would have liked it to be a little bit more one-sided,” Aubin-Mercier said.

As the four octagon opponents who he finished that way can confirm, Aubin-Mercier is usually the one chasing submissions in the cage. But, with Martin, he saw himself having to escape a few unfavorable situations in the third round.

While he was the clear loser of the final frame, Aubin-Mercier says he was not quite in danger of being finished. In fact, he was even chatting with his competition throughout.

“I’m like, ‘Come on, Tony. You can do it. Let’s do it,’” Aubin-Mercier said. “I knew it would have been hard for him. I’m from judo, so for I don’t know how many years I was just defending the back control.

“For me, it was easy to defend. Maybe I got a little bit cocky there. Cocky in a bad way, because I should have been on top in the third round.”

On the one hand, Aubin-Mercier thinks he made the fight harder than it needed to be. But, on the other, there’s something to be said for lessons learned.

“I did a mistake,” Aubin-Mercier said. “I tried to go maybe a little bit too much for the takedown, and I hurried a bit too much to get up and fight him on the feet. I did two big mistakes in that round and I paid for it. I mean, it’s a good experience.”

To hear from Aubin-Mercier, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Daniel Spitz says his 24-second knockout at UFC-Pittsburgh was just how he drew it up

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PITTSBURGH – Daniel Spitz needed just 24 seconds to put away Anthony Hamilton at UFC Fight Night 116, but don’t call it luck.

According to Spitz (6-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), the right hand counter that put Hamilton (15-8 MMA, 3-6 UFC) down early was the result of some good film study by himself and his team at the Sikjitsu gym in Spokane, Wash.

“I knew when he throws a right hand, his head always tends to lean forward,” Spitz told MMAjunkie following his FS1-televised win at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. “Me and my coach both picked up on that, and we drilled that same combination literally thousands of times. It just worked, you know.”

The counter right was what put Hamilton down, but it was the follow-up punches from the side that convinced referee Dan Miragliotta to call it off. Hamilton appeared to object to the stoppage, and the crowd reacted with some initial boos. But Spitz had no issue with it.

“I don’t think it was early,” Spitz said. “The ref has a hard job. I’m never going to critique what he does. I hit (Hamilton) four or five times unanswered. As a heavyweight … I think that’s a good stoppage. But it’s not on me to decide.”

As for his decision to call out fellow UFC heavyweight Chase Sherman after his win, Spitz explained it didn’t stem from any animosity, but rather from a desire to get back in the cage soon since his quick win left him healthy enough for a quick turnaround.

And as for why he chose “The Vanilla Gorilla” as his target opponent?

“The Sherman thing is nothing personal,” Spitz said. “I like the way he fights, and I think it’d be a fun fight.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

After first UFC knockout, Gilbert Burns wants lightweights to know he's dangerous everywhere

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PITTSBURGH – Jiu-jitsu world champion Gilbert Burns has some serious grappling skills, but after Saturday he’s happy to show he’s got the hands to go with them.

Burns’ (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) second-round finish of Jason Saggo (12-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in UFC Fight Night 116’s opening bout meant recovery from the second loss of his pro career. But, more than that, Burns believes scoring the first knockout of his UFC run also served to show he’s not a one-trick pony.

“One of the things that I started to put on my game is – a lot of guys, they just have the jiu-jitsu,” Burns told MMAjunkie after the lightweight bout, which aired on FS1 from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. “You just saw (welterweight contender) Demian Maia fight for the belt. And if he’s not able to take the guy down, that’s it. He can’t win the fight.

“And I always have that Plan B. I want to do my jiu-jitsu, but if something happens and I cannot take you down, I want to be able to strike with you.”

It might have taken him a while to get there, but at least Burns did it with style points. In what until that point had been quite an even match, he found a huge overhand right that sent Saggo straight to the mat. Burns even threw in a walk-off for good measure.

With three knockout wins to his name prior to the UFC, Burns knew his overhand packed power. In fact, his coaches reminded him of that in the locker room before he walked out. Now that there’s visual proof, however, he’s hoping the rest of the 155-pound division took notice.

“They’ve got to know I’m a danger everywhere,” Burns said. “On the ground, on the stand-up, the beginning of the round, the end of the round. I’m training so hard, I want to get to the next level in the UFC.”

While Burns doesn’t know the specifics of what this next level might entail, he’s hoping it means a quick turnaround, especially after sitting out an entire year following a UFC Fight Night 95 loss to fellow Brazilian Michel Prazeres.

“I’m ready to go,” Burns said. “I had a big layoff. My last fight was in September of last year. It was a loss, so I learned so much. I improved all my game. And I want to get back in there at the end of the year. December would be a great date.

“I saw a couple of guys that want to fight. Jim Miller, a lot of guys want to fight. I’m here. I’m ready. Anyone. December would be a great date for me.”

To hear more from Burns on his big win – and the solution he found to evade the hurricane chaos with his family – check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

ONE Championship 61 highlights: 2 guys yelling about emotional victories and quick KOs

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Filed under: Blue Corner, News, Videos

Did you miss out on this past weekend’s ONE Championship 61 event? Well then let Michael Schiavello and Mitch Chilson bring you all the highlights at a volume level that would make Dana White and Joe Rogan blush.

ONE Championship 61 took place Saturday at Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia, and the main card streamed as an online pay-per-view in North America. In the night’s main event, Kairat Akhmetov (21-1) picked up a razor-thin split-decision win over Geje Eustaquio (9-6).

Check out the best moments from that contest, as well as a lightning-quick knockout and a few emotional victories from the card’s other featured contests.

MAIN CARD (Online pay-per-view, 10 a.m. ET)

  • Kairat Akhmetov def. Geje Eustaquio via split decision
  • Stefer Rahardian def. Sim Bunsrun submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:07
  • Alain Ngalani def. Hideki Sekine via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:11
  • Roy Doliguez def. Yago Bryan Farias de Morais via knockout (punch) – Round 3, 2:58
  • Thai Rithy def. Sunoto Peringkat via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 0:19
  • Hisyam Samsudin def. Jeremy Meciaz via TKO (knees and elbows) – Round 1, 2:37
  • Ramon Gonzalez def. Deligerihu Liu via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 1:52

PRELIMINARY CARD (Untelevised, 9 a.m. ET)

  • Adrian Matheis def. Phat Soda via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:11
  • Riski Umar def. Adi Nugroho via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:00
  • Thai Rithy def. Jerome S. Paye via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 0:19

For more one ONE Championship 61, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

Filed under: Blue Corner, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

'Do I think I'm that good? Absolutely,' but Gregor Gillespie not about to call out top-10 guys

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos

After putting on a “round of the year” candidate and adding a slick submission to his perfect pro record, Gregor Gillespie had set up the perfect scenario to issue the ever-popular octagon callout.

Instead, he talked about fishing.

Considering big talking has come to be expected after memorable performances, Gillespie’s choice may have struck some as odd. The lightweight, however, has his reasons. Of course Gillespie thinks he can beat the best. He’s just in no rush to get to them.

“I don’t want to put anyone on notice,” Gillespie told MMAjunkie after his UFC Fight Night 116 win. “There’s so many good guys in my division that’s like – I don’t even know the number, 150 guys, maybe, in my weight? Like, they’re all good. The next guy, whoever the next logical step is. And I said this in an interview before the fight: I’m not going to start calling out top-10 guys.

“I’m only 3-0 in the UFC, you know. Do I think I’m that good? Absolutely. But it’s calculated. You’ve got to be smart. I’m going to do some fishing. We’re going to keep training hard. And we’re going to see what the next logical step is. I’m going to heal up. I’ve got a few things and nicks on me.”

Gillespie (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) met Jason Gonzalez (11-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) in a main-card lightweight affair, which aired live on FS1 from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. The arm-triangle choke was the seventh finish of his undefeated pro run, which previously saw him beating Glaico Franca and Andrew Holbrook.

Gillespie had more reasons to celebrate, too. Not only did he get to score big in front of his “home away from home” in Pittsburgh, a mere hour-and-a-half from where he went to college, he made an added $50,000 check for the evening’s “Fight of the Night.”

These bonuses don’t often go to matches that don’t go past the second round. But, considering that the first five minutes of this lightweight battle packed more action that some five-round headliners, few would disagree that it was worthy of the honors.

The first round’s dizzying pace, Gillespie will admit, was quite chaotic. Good thing, then, that chaos is somewhat of a specialty of his.

“That’s my pace,” Gillespie said. “I wasn’t trying to push the pace – that’s the pace that I fight at. That’s all I know. I don’t know standing at a distance and trying to feel the guy out. I go out and get after it.

“That’s what we do in sparring. I have some tremendous training partners. I have some tremendous coaches. That’s just how we do it in our gyms.”

To hear more from Gillespie, check out the video above.

And for more on UFC Fight Fight 116, check out the UFC Eventssection of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Calling all ranked athletes at 185, 205: Anthony Smith wants a good fight

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After picking up the biggest win of his career, Anthony Smith is looking to repeat the feat, and he’s taking suitors in two divisions.

“I just think there’s some big options for some exciting matchups at 205 (pounds),” Smith told MMAjunkie. “I think that 205 is getting a little bit dry; 185 is a shark tank. There’s plenty of guys there. I think that there’s some exciting matchups at 205. That said, if (UFC matchmaker) Mick Maynard gets ahold of my manager and says, ‘Hey, we’ve got this exciting matchup at 185,’ hey, I’m down. I’m in.”

Smith (28-12 MMA, 4-2 UFC) competed at middleweight on Saturday night, where he took on fellow veteran Hector Lombard (34-8-1 MMA, 3-6 UFC) on the FS1-broadcast main card of UFC Fight Night 116 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Smith started slow, dropping the first two rounds to Lombard on all three judges’ cards, but he gathered himself before the third and came out firing, eventually scoring a crisp combination that sent his opponent crashing to the canvas.

The compact, powerful Lombard is notoriously dangerous in the opening frame, and Smith said he knew that was the time to be cautious but believes he may have leaned a little too far in that direction.

“Hector’s so good in the first round,” Smith said. “He’s so dangerous. He’s explosive. He’s powerful. He’s everything you want to be as a fighter. He just can’t hang. It was a tough first round, but at the end of the first round, my conditioning felt good. I wasn’t as tired as I expected to be, and he didn’t hit nearly as hard as I expected him to.

“I think I gave him a whole lot more respect for his power because there was a couple times where he hit me clean, and it didn’t even shake me. I think I overestimated his power, and I overestimated his will.”

Smith admits he underestimated Lombard’s ability to score with low kicks, a wrinkle in his opponent’s attack “Lionheart” wasn’t expected, but he believes he eventually made the proper adjustments.

“I just had to force him to work,” Lombard said. “I wasn’t as busy as I wanted to be. I didn’t combo up and throw as much volume and stuff. I mean, I’m always my worst critic. I’ll take a ‘W,’ but I could have done better.”

Still, Smith now stands at an impressive 11-1 in his past 12 fights, a run that includes three consecutive UFC victories. And with that, Smith said it’s time for the sport’s top fighters, who he’s been calling out for years, give him a chance to prove his worth – and he’s willing to do it at middleweight or light heavyweight.

“I want to keep my options open, but I also want exciting fights,” Smith said. “I want big names, and at this point I think I deserve it.”

To hear more from Smith, check out the video above.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Luke Rockhold and UFC Fight Night 116's other winning fighters?

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos

Former champ Luke Rockhold returned to the UFC middleweight title contender mix on Saturday when he put a thorough beating on David Branch in the UFC Fight Night 116 main event.

Rockhold’s (16-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) ground game was far too much for Branch (21-4 MMA, 3-3 UFC) to handle in the FS1-televised headliner, which took place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. He battered his opponent with strikes for the second-round stoppage, putting Rockhold back in the queue of 185-pound contenders.

The finish in the main event concluded a main card where five of six fights ended inside the distance. Mike Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC), Anthony Smith (27-13 MMA, 4-2 UFC), Gregor Gillespie (10-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) and Kamaru Usman (11-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) all stopped their opponents in exciting fashion, while Justin Ledet (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC) was alone in winning on the scorecards.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC Fight Night 116’s winning fighters.

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Justin Ledet

Should fight: Dmitriy Sosnovskiy
Why they should fight: In what was arguably the most forgettable bout on the card, Ledet made a successful return from a lengthy layoff with a split-decision victory over short-notice UFC newcomer Zu Anyanwu.

Ledet essentially jabbed his way to a win on the scorecards, giving him a win that pushed him to 3-0 in the UFC heavyweight division. Ledet has shown flashes of brilliance in his fights, but his performance against Anyanwu did not provide much excitement for his next trip to the octagon.

Perhaps Ledet deserves a bit of slack for having to change to a new opponent on short notice. Because of that, he should get the fight he was originally intended for against Sosnovskiy (10-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC). The pair has already been booked to fight twice, but each time it’s fallen through. It’s possible it’s time to just move on from the fight, but given they’ve already trained to face off so many times, it would be interesting to see how it plays out.

Kamaru Usman

Santiago Ponzinibbio

Should fight: Santiago Ponzinibbio
Why they should fight: Usman has been nothing short of sensational since making his UFC debut, and Sergio Moraes was the next victim in his run toward the top of the welterweight division, courtesy of a first-round knockout.

Usman made some bold statements about where he sees himself among the contenders at 170 pounds, and he’s already taken aim at current champion Tyron Woodley. He’s not going to get that fight next, but if he continues to knock people out in a similar fashion to Moraes, it won’t be long until he’s fighting for UFC gold.

By adding dangerous striking to his already existing standout wrestling game, Usman is evolving into a threat on multiple levels. There aren’t many who will be capable of stopping his game, but Ponzinibbio (25-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) could be equipped to handle it.

The Argentinian is riding the second-longest UFC winning streak in his division behind Usman following his knockout of Gunnar Nelson at UFC Fight Night 113 in July, and a matchup between the two streaking fighters could have a big impact on the future of the weight class.

Gregor Gillespie

Vinc Pichel

Should fight: Vinc Pichel
Why they should fight: Highly regarded lightweight prospect Gillespie had another promising performance early in his career when he submitted Jason Gonzalez in the “Fight of the Night.”

Gillespie improved his record to 10-0 when he came out on the top of a back-and-forth war by submitting Gonzalez with an arm-triangle choke in the second round. “The Gift” has strong wrestling and improving striking, and at 30, still has a lot of upside as someone to watch at 155 pounds.

Gillespie’s first three UFC performances have come against opponents with limited UFC experience. It’s time for that to change, and Pichel (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is someone who has been around the promotion for several years on top of appearing on “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series.

Pichel is riding a three-fight winning streak with his most recent octagon appearance being a first-round knockout of Damien Brown at UFC Fight Night 110 in June. If he could hand Gillespie his first loss, he would make a big statement that he’s not going to be pushed around by anyone with hype.

Anthony Smith

Uriah Hall

Should fight: Uriah Hall
Why they should fight: The second coming of Smith in the UFC took another memorable step forward when “The Lionheart” scored yet another come-from-behind knockout victory, this time at the expense of Hector Lombard.

After falling behind on the scorecards in the middleweight fight, Smith landed a fight-ending combination of strikes to extend the former Bellator champ’s losing skid to four fights. Smith said prior to the bout that he needed to get past Lombard to prove his worth, and he did just that.

Smith was arguably released prematurely during his first UFC stint in 2013. He’s put together a 4-1 run since coming back this past year, and his maturity is evident. Smith should be in for another noteworthy fight, and Hall (13-8 MMA, 6-6 UFC) fits the description.

Hall scored a massive knockout win of his own against Krzysztof Jotko on the preliminary card, helping him bounce back from a three-fight drought. “Primetime” is a lethal striker when he’s on, and if he shows up on point, Smith would surely have his hands full.

Mike Perry

Thiago Alves

Should fight: Thiago Alves
Why they should fight: Perry did his job against an overmatched short-notice replacement when he scored a 79-second knockout of UFC newcomer Alex Reyes.

Originally meant to fight Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC), “Platinum” had no hesitation in taking another matchup when the former UFC title challenger pulled out on three days’ notice. Perry delivered another violent finish due to strikes, and afterward he called out former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler to a future matchup.

Perry deserves credit for aiming high, but it’s likely much bigger fights are in Lawler’s immediate future. Because of that, rebooking the showdown with Alves seems much more realistic. It still makes sense despite Perry’s win, and facing “The Pitbull” still represents the most high-profile fight of his career.

Luke Rockhold

Should fight: Yoel Romero
Why they should fight:
Watch the video above to see why Rockhold should fight Romero (12-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 116, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

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